Neighbors back Unionville ice cream shop plan

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E. Marlborough Supervisors to rule on conditional use

IceCream

This historic house in Unionville Village, on Route 82 at Cemetary Lane, could become home to an ice cream parlor later this year if township officials sign off on the plan.

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — Barring any late changes of plans, it appears possible that a new ice cream shop could be open for business in the heart of the Unionville village by summer’s end, if the township’s Board of Supervisors grants conditional use approval.

During a special hearing Monday night, the applicant, Jerry Brown, detailed the plans to convert a home on Route 82 into a retail outlet serving ice cream, candy, coffee and the like. The historic home is owned by Doug Mooberry, who completed a renovation and restoration of the building about five years ago, he said. The property is zoned C-1, Village Commercial.

The first floor would be dedicated to the ice cream parlor, while the second floor would be used for a combination of office and conference space. The use of a small space on the third floor is undetermined, Brown said. There would be tables set up outside the building for patrons to enjoy their treats, they said.

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If approved for use as an ice cream parlor, the owners and operators of the business say they’d restore the old great porch to the building, as seen here in an 1892 postcard image of the building. Courtesy: Doug Mooberry.

One change Brown and Mooberry do plan: restoring the great porch on the building. They distributed images of the building as seen on an 1892 postcard from the area to demonstrate their intentions.

Although the meeting room at the township building was packed, not a single voice objected to the plan, with a dozen neighboring residents signaling their support. Brown noted that roughly a century ago, the village sported an ice cream parlor — and neighbors agreed that it was both an appropriate and historically proper use.

“I couldn’t think of anything more fitting for a village than an ice cream parlor,” said Nina Ginty, a neighbor.

The lone issue of any discussion was parking. The property, which has served in a number of retail uses, the most recent being a quilt store, currently has more than 10 parking spaces, and unlike most other properties in the village, could add a number more if needed.

Cuyler Walker, chair of the township’s Board of Supervisors, noted that under the current ordinance — based on the roughly 2,400 square feet of space in the building — the business would need to have about 40 parking spaces. And while Mooberry and Brown made it clear that adding more parking wouldn’t be an issue — Walker suggested he was looking for grounds not to add parking, or increase the amount of impervious surface on the property.

On a lighter note, he suggested that he didn’t want to encroach on the croquet lawn on the property — about a century ago, the property was also home of the Unionville Croquet Club, which legend has it, would compete (and reportedly, regularly thrash) local competing croquet teams.

Although the board of supervisors has to issue a ruling in writing, expected in the coming weeks, there didn’t appear to be any opposition to the application.

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